Woman making stop sign with hand. Domestic and sexual violence concept
What can be done to stop sexual assaults on college campuses?
Airdate: Monday, November 14, 2022
One in five women and one in sixteen men are sexually assaulted while in college. 90% go unreported. LGBTQ students, black students, and students living with disabilities all have higher risks of being sexually assaulted on-campus. That’s according to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.
Many of these sexual assaults occur during the first semester on campus, which is known as “The Red Zone.” Appearing on The Spark Monday, Donna Greco, Public Policy and Legislative Affairs Director of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape was asked why,”You often have first year students or transfer students, and certainly during the COVID pandemic, almost like two classes of first year students coming back to campus. It might be the first time away from home. They may be breaking a long period of isolation, getting acclimated to the campus culture or perhaps a socializing and party culture. The role of alcohol is definitely mixed in there where people that are perpetrating sexual violence may target those vulnerable students who are new on campus.”
College and universities are much more conscious of the dangers of sexual crimes and most have taken steps to prevent it and make students more aware. But is it enough?
Jennifer Storm, Director of Equity and Title IX at Muhlenberg College explained why she thought there are so many sexual assaults on campus,”It’s definitely a cultural thing. And sex education needs to stop being taboo. And it needs to start, in my humble opinion, as early as children can walk and talk. I mean, I started educating my child when he was an infant on consent. Good touch, bad touch, all of that. You have to give young people the language. And we have to get away from this notion that if we empower young people with information, that’s just going to make them engage in the behaviors at a higher rate. That’s not accurate. If you educate properly and what we’re seeing, the lack of education is around is consent and understanding consent when it can be entered and when it can’t. And then on top of that, we’re seeing this inability to articulate boundaries. And I think COVID does have an impact on this. We have some generations that are coming in that had very little interpersonal contact and communication in their senior year and then some in their freshman year. But there is a real inability to articulate boundaries around intimacy and sex. And I will tell you right now, that’s where I’ve done the bulk of my education and intervention in this semester alone. I’ve had probably close to 40 cases, and almost all of them have been me helping students understand their own boundaries and then how to communicate those boundaries with others. And then also helping students respect those boundaries and honor those boundaries.”
Greco was asked if colleges and universities have to do more,”They do. And we’re excited that we saw some efforts in the General Assembly with the adoption of an It’s on US bill adopted into the public school code, where we’re going to see a lot more efforts in collaboration between post-secondary institutions, rape crisis centers, domestic violence centers to really strengthen those prevention efforts and to also ensure that victims have notification of their rights and supportive measures so that they can stay on track in school and fully participate in their campus.”